With the losses of Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki, number 3 Stephens is the highest draw left in the women's draw – earning a solid victory against Azarenka in the third round, which is still in good form ( 19659002) Azarenka, a two-time finalist, has been at the Open for the first time since the birth of her son in 2016.
Stephens, the defending champion, looked vulnerable from the match. It took three sets (and nearly three hours) to win in the second round against qualifier of Ukraine, Anhelina Kalinina. Azarenka seemed to offer a tougher test.
Sure enough, Azarenka broke Stephens' serve to go 4: 3 in the second set. It began to disperse during the transition, resulting in a brief delay as tournament officials demanded the retractable roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium to be nearby. Both players retreated to the locker room. Stephens seemed to use the break to regroup.
"The man above was paying attention to me, because I came in and changed my shirt and, yes, I think it helped a lot," Stephens said in a court interview after the game
In the fourth Round on Sunday Stephens meets 15-placed Elise Mertens from Belgium, who has not made it past the first round of the US Open until this year. Mertens, 22, was a semi-finalist at the Australian Open in January and won three titles in 2018. She beat Stephens in the third round in Cincinnati two weeks ago.
Rain replaces heat
It's about 15 degrees cooler Friday than it was at the US Open in the last few days, and for the first time in the tournament a light rain is falling. Play was briefly suspended in the match between Sloane Stephens and Victoria Azarenka to close the roof at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The new Louis Armstrong Stadium also has a retractable roof, but is not yet closed
Stat to see: average rally length
A new statistic offered at the US Open – average rally length – A new level of understanding of matches at Flushing Meadows has been withdrawn.
For example, Seomore Naomi Osaka's number 20 on Thursday, 6-2, 6-0, won against Julia Glushko in the second round. with an average rally length of just 2.86 shots
So that means on average the markup came in, the return went in, but a third shot in court was no guarantee.
Only three rallies out of 84 points reached double-digit, the longest rally in the match were 11 shots.
Ekaterina Makarova defeated No. 9 seed in another duel of women from the second round, Julie Görges, 7-6 (10), 6-3. It was a very competitive match, but the average rally length was only 2.55 in court. There were 143 points in the game, and only three rallies reached double digits, with the longest 10 hits.
No. 18 Seed Ashleigh Barty defeated Lucie Safarova, 7-5, 6-3, in the second round, with an average rally length of 2.95 rounds.
There is a romantic image that long rallies are the norm in tennis, but this new line point on the statistic sheet clarifies this theory from the water.
Usually we associate short rallies much more with power servers like John Isner, whose average rally length was only 2.38 shots in his five-set second-round victory Nicolas Jarry on Wednesday
But how close is the average between Isner and the three women's games? It is within a shot in court. The stat sheet seems to scream that players should practice more and return less and soil less. CRAIG O & SHANNESSY
Referee in Kyrgios Match went "beyond the record"
The U.S.T.A. Nick Kyrgios reviewed "4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-0 Pierre-Hugues Herbert's victory on Thursday, when presiding umpire Mohamed Lahyani came on the pitch to play with Kyrgios talks about his efforts in the second sentence.
Lahyani seemed to be speaking to Kyrgios, who seemed disinterested and was 3-0 down in the second set. "I want to help you" and "I've seen your matches, you're great for the sport," among others. Kyrgios won 19 of the next 25 games to win the game.
U.S. Officials, including tournament director David Brewer and tournament referee Brian Earley, said Friday that Lahyani's behavior "went beyond the record." But Lahyani will continue to work on the tournament. He was advised to "stick to the right protocols".
Friday's main storylines
• Venus vs. Serena.
• Venus vs Serena.
• Venus versus Serena.
See other games
Rafael Nadal Vs. Karen Khachanov
Ashe Stadium, second game
Nadal, the # 1 star, has been dominant under the lights this week, moving his opponents methodically until he manages to create the perfect shot in the game. Khachanov, a young Russian with 27th place, is a great Basel player who prefers to keep the ball alive and does not pay attention to the big shots. If Nadal can adapt to the pace of the young Russian, he will be able to use it.
Denis Shapovalov vs. Kevin Anderson
Armstrong Stadium, third game
Anderson, last year's finalist, meets Shapovalov, last year's breakout star. Both have since consolidated their positions in men's football and everyone would be disappointed in the third round here. They have never played before, so it's hard to know how they fit together.
Karolina Muchova vs. Ashleigh Barty
Tribune, fourth game
One of six Czech women in the third round, Muchova, 22, has her big break with a major. This is the first Grand Slam tournament she has qualified for, and on Wednesday night she defeated No. 12, Garbiñe Muguruza, for her first victory over a player in the top 100. Barty is a smart player after seeing her has spent youth years on tour playing double and reaching all four major finals. If Muchova can continue to take control of the net, as she did in her first two games, her outsider story could reach into the second week of the game.
Juan Martín del Potro vs. Fernando Verdasco
Arthur Ashe Stadium, Second Night Game
Del Potro had a couple of early games in the early stages, with two American players passing by, Donald Young and Denis Kudla, but Verdasco should do much harder resistance. Verdasco's high-paced baseline approach to the game can be particularly challenging on hard courts, though his heavy topspin strokes could be perfect for the 6-foot-6 Del Potro. Both players have known strong foremen. Here's a taste of what that might look like:
Milos Raonic vs. Stan Wawrinka
Armstrong Stadium, 7 pm
Raonic has never completed the fourth round of the Open, despite a game tailor-made for hard courts and the heat. However, the weather will be cooler on Friday, and that could slow the balls down a bit and give Wawrinka time for his powerful ground beats. DAN GENDLER AND MAX GENDLER
• Caroline Wozniacki, the # 2 women's draw, was upset by Lesia Tsurenko in the second round.
• A strange conversation between Nick Kyrgios and a chair umpire was the talk of the tournament.
• Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Angelique Kerber and Maria Sharapova advanced to the third round.
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